http://blog.lungevity.org/2011/06/28/di ... cer-at-24/
Diagnosed With Lung Cancer at 24
June 28th, 2011 - by Heather Geraghty
On December 28, 2010 I was told that I had lung cancer.
It didn’t seem possible. I was only 24 years old! According to the surgeon, the tumor had been growing for years.
On January 20, 2011 I had two-thirds of my right lung removed. I had 23 of the longest days of my life knowingly living with cancer, and when it vanished from my body the shock of knowing still remained.
After surgery everyone who had surrounded themselves around me had returned to their daily routines, but I was still left wondering “how could this happen to me?” I thought to myself over and over again “What if I never found out? Would I still have lung cancer right now?” My lung cancer seemed to come and go so quickly from my life, and when it was gone I didn’t know what to do with myself. I felt alone, I couldn’t talk to anyone because nobody could relate to me. I felt scared, not only had I gone through painful surgery but I didn’t want the cancer to come back.
My friends didn’t understand which made it difficult to talk to them about any aspect of my cancer. During this time I was surprised to see faces of people, especially those who showed their concern. I was more surprised when I didn’t see the faces of people who I thought would be the most concerned. This was the first time in my life that I felt completely helpless. Simple tasks such as sitting up in bed, walking from one room to the next, and taking a deep breathe were significantly difficult after surgery. My mom and dad were the most impacting during my recovery, and still remain my biggest supporters to this day.
At times, even now, it is still difficult for me to admit to myself as well as aloud that I am a lung cancer survivor. Many days it doesn’t seem real, and I don’t believe that it has happened to me. Lung cancer has changed my whole perspective on life, which has forced me to refuse to take anything for granted.
My first check up is in August, the first of many to come in the next 2-3 years. And I am terrified to be told that the cancer has come back. Since experiencing lung cancer, I have been horrified to find that there is little known about this cancer, however, many stereotypes exist. Recently, I met someone who told me that “anyone who gets lung cancer did something to deserve it”. At first this made me angry, but then I felt defeated because I realized many people in society feel this way about lung cancer.
I hope to change this perspective with the support of an organization called LUNGevity.
The LUNGevity Foundation raises money and awareness for lung cancer research. I have found a family within this organization that has given me hopes for my future and the future of lung cancer. Since connecting with LUNGevity I have dedicated my time to organizing the 1stannual lung cancer fundraiser for LUNGevity at Café Fontana’s in Maple Shade on September 7, 2011 from 7pm-10pm.
The objective of this event is to confront, promote, and speak freely about the many faces of lung cancer in order to begin erasing the stigmas. Proceeds will benefit LUNGevity. Tickets are $50 – food, drinks, music, 50/50 cash raffle, Chinese auction, door prizes, and more!
To purchase tickets and for more information please visit: www.heathergeraghty.blogspot.com
or call (609) 330-3617